Morning routines are like excuses. Everyone has one. And just like excuses, some morning routines are more "legit" than others.
Take, for example, the rushed morning routine that involves waking up 10-15 minutes before departure, grabbing a quick bowl of cereal or energy bar, and heading out the door. This is the common way in which nearly everyone handles their mornings.
What's the more "legit" routine? I call it the relaxed approach: by waking up at least 45 minutes before departure at a set time every morning, the relaxed approach emphasizes a well thought-out morning routine that enables productivity and a happy mood throughout the day.
For most of my life, I've had a rushed morning routine, and man, was it AWFUL!
In high school, I absolutely hated mornings because of my morning routine - something I had total control over! After gulping down a cup of coffee and a bowl of some not-Real Food Kashii, I usually was harassed and bullied by my sisters until I made it out the door. For the rest of the day, I was one of two things: completely dead to the world and sleeping in class - OR - wishing I was completely dead to the world and sleeping in class, but doing my best to stay awake by playing games on my calculator. After class, I came home, took an hour long nap, watched some TV, and surfed the web.
Not an ideal mindset for learning.
From those awful days, I learned a pretty awesome lesson. Go to bed early, get at least 7 hours of sleep, and create a beneficial morning routine to boost start my day - the relaxed approach encompasses waking up around 5:30 a.m., shower, meditate, write, practice copywriting, and then eat breakfast before heading off to work at 8:15. Yep, that's nearly 3 hours of mind-focusing, energy-boosting, karma- building awesomeness. Do I know I'm going to kick-ass every day? You betcha. And it's all because of I have a morning routine.
If you don't have a morning routine yet, no worries at all. There are a number of small steps you can take to begin a morning routine:
Try including one of these in your morning routine for a few weeks straight until it becomes habitual. For more on how to BUILD a morning routine, check out this killer article by Maneesh Sethi of Hack The System on Forbes: Building a Morning Routine.
Need more convincing as to why a morning routine is critical? Well, keep in mind that a morning routine...
All of these reasons discuss the "why's" of a morning routine.
So now, you're probably wondering HOW this information applies to travel.
Here's my take:
Some people see travel as an escape from the grind of daily life. Work-work-work for fifty weeks, and play for two. And, if that's the case, it's best to do away with any type of routine, and instead completely enjoy the relaxation of your vacation time.
If, however, you're a nomadic traveler looking to get work done while on the road, a morning routine is the best way to cultivate a working mindset.
Morning routines can be turned off at will while on the road, like in case of a late-night party or an impromptu weekend together. But, if you absolutely need to get things done, your morning routine can be called on in times of need and desperation. Your brain, once it knocks off those first two or three "dominos", will understand what's going on and shift you into a zen-like working mode. Distractions will be eliminated, and instead of worrying about what you're missing out on (FOMO anyone?), you'll be zoned in on completing your work as soon as possible.
Even if you're not working while on the road, a morning routine may fit your needs. Say, for example, you're trying to learn the language of a country you're visiting. If you incorporate a morning routine that involves an hour of language study every morning, you'll enjoy your experience abroad so much more. Throw in a few sprints and some meditation, and you'll be on top of the world.
Readers: Do YOU have a morning routine? If so, what does it involve? Share your thoughts below!
Beautiful. I bookend my days with a bit of a routine. 625 up and workout. 655 cold bath/shower. 700 devotional/motivational/prayer. 730 breakfast usually consisting of eggs, bacon, and fruit. 800 off to school. Gets me ready to be as effective as possible with my day. At night, usually 9 to 915ish, I stretch/push-ups/pull-ups/etc. Reflect on the day and jot down thoughts and plans for the next day. Read. Sleep. Repeat
I subscribe completely to your thoughts. I also have my clothes ready for the next day. All this helps combat time change also.
I wake up every day at 5:45. I used to sleep in on weekends, but that caused me to lose several hours of wake time each week and I actually felt more tired with an inconsistent sleep schedule.
After waking up I'll meditate for 5 minutes, eat a banana then take a shower. In the past I've taken 10-15 minutes how showers, but I'm experimenting with cold showers and I find them more refreshing. My body seems to subconsciously move faster because of the cold and now I only spend 5 minutes or so washing up every morning.
Then I eat an actual breakfast. Usually leftover bean soup or chili. After breakfast I either workout, write, or head off to school depending on the day.
It's interesting that you mentioned Kashi because I no longer eat it anymore. It always caused me huge digestive problems and after some research I found it wasn't as healthy as I initially thought. I replaced Kashi with green smoothies in the summer, but unless I wake up another 10-15 minutes earlier I don't have time to make them in the morning during the school year. Any other ideas for (vegan) breakfasts?
Damn Cam. That's an impressive morning routine for being in high school. I wish I had the same discipline when I was your age.
+1 for the cold showers - I also will take cold showers in the summer time, and they're awesome
Can't help ya out too much with vegan breakfast options, considering most breakfasts I make have eggs and dairy. Sounds like your best bet would be a smoothie with coconut milk, some fruit and some greens. The additional fat in coconut milk will give you MUCH needed energy throughout the day, especially if you're still playing sports.
I hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of the “Primer Series”. If you have any questions about nutrition, or are looking for scientific evidence behind my assertions, please comment or send me an e-mail. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.
Okay. So Part 2 of the “Primer Series” deals with fitness, and what approach one should take to the wonderful world of exercise while traveling. My recommendations are easy to implement while on the road, yet still incredibly beneficial for your overall health and physique. As a note, I understand many readers are already walking quite a bit while traveling. These tips are for travelers who want to incorporate an intentional fitness routine into their day.
Suggestion 1: Make Fitness Simple
When you think of fitness in the context of modern society, what picture immediately pops into your head? Probably a gym filled with treadmills, ellipticals, machine-weights and a few free-weights. Buying an over-priced membership at the local YMCA is the common solution to a widespread weight crisis in America.
Finding a way to meditate regularly has been a real challenge for me. I tried getting up early to meditate but found I kept hitting snooze. Then for a while I meditated in the evenings but found that it was often skipped for a new episode of Downton Abbey or some other enticing activity. Now my "go to" time for meditating is during my commute which is thankfully by rail. It's not ideal but it happens Monday through Friday, morning and afternoon. I plug in my headphones and set the MP3 player to Jon Kabat-Zinn's Sitting Meditation. It's about 42 minutes long and I have 20 minutes in the morning and another 20 in the afternoon. Occasionally it's a standing meditation rather than sitting. Other times I run into a co-worker who likes to chat and I take that option. But often I have a chance to tune in twice a day.
This week I'm on Spring Break and finding my routine changed has also changed my meditation routine. I'm using other opportunities to be mindful (those litter boxes still need to be changed) but I haven't done my usual meditation. Let's see how it affects my mood and ability to stay present. I'm already missing it and may find a time to sit tonight or tomorrow.
How do you fit meditation into your schedule? Does it make a difference when you don't? I know it does for me, even if I'm in a "low stress" mode.